THEIR SNEAKY TACTICS AND THE BEST ANTIDOTE
BY JAMIE HUMPHREY
“She has lost so much weight! I wonder what’s she’s doing? I bet she doesn’t eat. She’s almost TOO skinny. Someone give that girl a cupcake.”
“Did they get a new car? That’s a top of the line luxury vehicle. I mean my 2008 Kia works perfectly fine. It’s paid off so why would I even want a new car? They are being so flashy.”
“Their new house is massive! It’s literally 5 times the size of mine. What do they need all that square footage for? Their mortgage payment must be HUGE. I wouldn’t want that payment. AND they have a vacation home?! Excess!”
“Look at all the girls from church in this Instagram photo. I wasn’t invited to the girls’ night. I’m glad I’m at home binging on Cheetos while my family sleeps. Who needs those girls?”
“Can her husband PLEASE write one more gushy post about how much he adores her?! Do we really need to know how his world spins on the axis of her love?! No. We don’t. Get a room, people.”
“She is so perfect. She walks, talks, smiles, responds perfectly. She always is kind and caring. No one can be that nice to their kids ALL the time. I bet she really yells at them when no one is around.”
I was at a baby shower about a month ago talking to Nicole Henneforth. Nicole has a way of pastoring me without even trying. She was telling me about a book she read written by R.T. Kendall, Jealousy: The Sin No One Talks About, How to Overcome Envy & Live a Life of Freedom. I heard myself say to her, “jealousy isn’t really something I deal with…” And of course gracious Nicole agreed, “I didn’t think I dealt with jealousy either. But the book shined a light on some areas I didn’t even know were in my life….” As she was sharing her revelations I had this sneaky feeling inside me this was a “Holy Spirit Shining” in my soul. I told Nicole, “Oh girl. I may need to buy that book.” So I went home and ordered the book off Amazon.
I’ve always loved my life. When I’m home with my husband and my two precious kids I feel like everything is right with my world. I am at peace. I am joyful. I am happy. So when do the feelings of envy come at me? When I start looking around at other’s lives and scrutinize them to see if they have anything “better” than me. The core of my envy is my own insecurity. Instead of focusing on the goodness of God in my own life I get distracted by God’s goodness to someone else.
Envy feels like tightness in my chest, a knot in my throat and a sinking feeling in my gut when I see something I don’t have and I want it. I looked up the definition of envy. Envy is “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.” R.T. Kendall explains that, “envy tends to focus on the other person’s things; jealousy includes animosity toward the person. … Envy is also coveting what others have; jealousy is the fear of losing what you have. Envy is natural and passive. Jealousy is vengeful and active.”
Proverbs 14:30 (NLT) says, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” Envy starts with a thought …“she is so skinny. I wish I were that skinny” and if I don’t take that thought captive it can start spiraling and lead to full blown evil jealousy. Evil jealousy would say, “I wish she’d get sick and fat.” Proverbs 27:4 NLT says, “Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.” I want no part of envy OR jealousy. I got stuck in a shame spiral as I was reading and researching. So I had to call on one of the Big Dogs.
Blair Fabry is one of my respected mentors and friends. I was really wrestling with seeing myself as an envious and jealous person. I felt like a doomed sinner. I needed to talk this issue out with someone I trusted and who believes in the Bible as the Truth. She explained that there is a process between temptation and sin. She read James 1:14-15 NLT to me: “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” The moment a thought pops in my head, “Oh her new designer work-out clothes are amazing. My Target work-out clothes are ugly and awful!” I need to stop and name what I’m feeling. I am feeling insecure that I don’t have the budget to afford expensive work-out clothes. It is causing envy to enter my heart. I’m going to stop the process. “I’m so blessed to have the ability to work out. I am so blessed to be able to afford even Target work-out clothes.” Blair explained that unnamed emotions can run amuck. Once an emotion is named it can be addressed and negotiated and sorted through. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT says, “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” What Blair helped me see is a thought entering my brain and tempting me doesn’t mean I’m sinning. If I nurse and rehearse an envious thought it will entice me and drag me away … it can grow and give birth to death.
What is the best antidote for envy and jealousy? I praise God and thank Him for all the goodness in my life.
Every Vice has a Virtue. What could the virtue to envy be? Admiration. Inspiration. At a recent bridal shower (yes this church is filled with brides and babies!) as I was inhaling my 3rd mini bundt cake (I had to try all 3 flavors, right?!) I looked over and saw Marlen Luetwyler NOT eating a mini bundt cake and I had “that” feeling. She looked so great. Thin, fit, and using self-control. So instead of thinking a mean thought I went over to her and I asked her, “You look amazing! What are you doing to be in such great shape?” She explained the health and fitness journey she is on. I walked away flooded with inspiration for her self-control and determination to be a healthy and energetic mom to her 3 small children. I admire Marlen for making her health and wellness a priority. No envy and no jealousy allowed. I take her strength and use it as inspiration to follow her lead.
1 Timothy 6:6-8: Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. *DROP MIC*
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Humphrey is a 35-year-old native San Diegan. She has been united in wedded bliss to her soul mate, Eli, for almost 9 years. Together they have a beautiful 7-year-old daughter, Serenity and a handsome 5-year-old son, Justice. Jamie spends her days delighting in her children and her evenings joyfully making dinner, doing laundry and cleaning the house. What a wonderful life it is!
TRANSLATION: Jamie is a stay at home mom that is always trying to find her purpose and worth in the mundane and repetitive tasks of homemaking. She never dreamed of not having a job outside the home but God’s grace is sufficient. His plan for her life is sanctifying and He always uses her to glorify His kingdom whether it is at the kid’s soccer practice or their school. God is good.